Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bullets: Undertow Podcast on KOBK #11, Preview of KOBK #12, and Much More!

Lots happening today:  the latest episode of The Undertow Podcast was just published, with a lengthy look at Kill Or Be Killed #11, and Image Comics has released a suspense-filled three-page preview of issue #12, which reaches stores tomorrow.

We have more details on both in a quite lengthy post below, along with a few other items.

Undertow Podcast on KOBK and Kirbyesque Craziness.  Robert and I very recently recorded our thoughts on issue #11, the first chapter in the series' third arc and an apparent turning point in Dylan's effort to leave behind his new career in vigilante justice.

With its reprise of the series' opening flash-forward and a renewed focus on whether Dylan is delusional or truly demon-possessed, the issue seemed to be a kind of response to the discussions we've had in earlier episodes -- just as it was awfully eerie to read that Rex was a family man who liked reruns of Perry Mason.  The creators probably don't listen in, but it's still gratifying to see that our close look at the book is paying off down the road.

As always, episodes of The Undertow Podcast are available on iTunes and at Podbean.  We hope everyone enjoys listening as much as we do making this show, and if you do, we'd appreciate your spreading the word, especially with an iTunes review.

And if Ed, Sean, and/or Bettie do listen in... hi, y'all! We hope ya like the show.

In addition to discussing KOBK, I heartily recommended Strange Science Fantasy, a 2010 mini-series by Scott Morse and IDW.  Marvel and DC are both commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of "King Kirby," and I can think of no better book to recommend than this one, which honors Kirby with entirely new tales.

I stumbled across the series when it was first published in monthly issues.  I was immediately struck by the cover art, which we're including above.  The covers sum up the book quite nicely:  loose artwork and bombastic narration telling almost primal stories of heroism.  Each issue tells a complete story, which is why it was so much fun to read the serialized issues, but readers will discover a work that is greater than the sum of its individual chapters.

I quoted at-length from two articles that give a good introduction to the work, CBR's 2010 interview with the creator and a 2011 review at Full Stop, by a reader who is frustrated by the melodrama of modern comics and their sprawling continuity.

Those who like this book might also enjoy other works by Morse, including the crime story Volcanic Revolver, the boxing tale in Southpaw, and the autobiographical Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!  I still find that Strange Science Fantasy is the most complete, most satisfying work I've read by Scott Morse.

I can't imagine that the book will be to everyone's taste, but those who are intrigued by the premise and especially the cover art should definitely give it a shot.

Updates on Sean Phillips Projects: Femme Fatale Beer and The Spirit of Eisner Newspaper.  In the podcast, we mention a few recent developments on Sean Phillips' side projects, and we should definitely make note of them here.

In our last blog post, we relayed news about that mysterious Rita Hayworth artwork that the artist had previously teased:  Sean Phillips has created four can designs for Femme Fatale beer, a Herzog Kolsch style beer to be brewed by North Brewing Co. and sold at Tall Boys Beer Market in Leeds, England, commemorating OK Comics' 15th birthday with a party toward the end of next week's Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival.

In addition to the beer, the announcement noted the sale of "a small quantity of limited edition prints, based on the Sean Phillips beer can designs. They will be signed, framed and ready to display."

On Twitter, OK Comics has since provided more info on these prints, including a photo of the framed artwork, which we're reposting above.  The signed and framed print will sell for 20 pounds, and while they anticipate the store will sell out quickly, Jared promises that the store will stock the item until the supply runs out.

For those of us unable to visit the festival next week, even better news came from Sean Phillips himself, tweeting his own announcement about new prints launching at Thought Bubble in Leeds.  As before, the prints are of the artist's favorite femme fatales, but -- going by the photo he posted, shown above -- there's a separate print for each actress, and the artwork is unadorned by the beer can layout.

In that tweet and elaborating on Instagram, Phillips relays that leftover prints will be available after the festival, in his online store at Big Cartel.

The other big news is for another big festival in England -- the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in mid-October.  In May, we noted the announcement of the festival's Spirit of Eisner newspaper comic, which Phillips is coordinating and which will include a one-page story by Brubaker and Phillips; in August, we highlighted preview art from the Brubaker/Phillips contribution and hints at creators not mentioned in the original press release.

Since then, Sean Phillips has pinned a tweet with the apparent cover art of the newspaper broadsheet comic, shown above -- and he's given followers on social media previews of more artists' contributions, including Jason Latour and Bryan Hitch (drawing a story written by Jonathan Ross).

It looks like Phillips' rendition of the Will Eisner's celebrated masked hero is in the upper right corner, and the previously seen signed drawing by Michael Cho is in the bottom right corner.

The comic is part of a celebration of Eisner's centenary: Will Eisner was born in Brooklyn in March, 1917; Jack Kirby was born less than six months later, across the East River in Manhattan.  The festival's page for the nearly month-long "Spirit of Eisner" art exhibition describes the comic as "a 12-page broadsheet newspaper with 10 self-contained stories," and Cho is not listed as one of the contributors.

On Twitter, Phillips describes the book as "twelve massive pages of awesome Spirit stories," and the twelve images on the cover seems to come from 12 quite distinctive works.  We wonder if the final book is a little bigger than originally advertised.

According to the official site, "The newspaper will be on sale at the festival with proceeds towards LICAF’s Artists’ Development Fund."  We're still hoping the comic will also be available for purchase online.

• More Details on the Criminal Graphic Novella.  Another item briefly covered in the podcast is the Criminal graphic novella that was first announced in June.  In the back pages of KOBK #11, Ed Brubaker gave readers a little more information.
  • Sean Phillips is confirmed as the book's artist, and he'll work on the title alongside drawing the monthly issues of Kill Or Be Killed
  • The book's publication should be in 2018, most likely in the summer or fall.
  • The format will be similar to the recent adaptation, from Dark Horse Comics, of Neil Gaiman's short story How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
  • The story's central character is from the first Criminal tale, "Coward," but not Leo or Gnarly. 
We confirmed that the Gaiman adaptation, by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, is a traditional comic of sequential artwork.  It is not a book of illustrated prose, like Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' Stardust.

Personally, I wonder if the upcoming book's protagonist might be Genuine Jen Waters, the old friend of Leo and Tracy who now works as a cop in the Internal Affairs Department, a pariah among both her old friends and her current coworkers.

• Kill Or Be Killed Allusions and Illustrations.  Finally, we come back to Kill Or Be Killed, beginning with the movie mentioned in today's online preview.  It would be easy enough for curious readers to track down the movie title online, but we recognized it fairly quickly as The Edge, whose trailer is embedded above.  Wikipedia notes that the 1997 thriller, starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, is also one of the last film appearances for the trained Kodiak Bart the Bear, who naturally enough has his own entry.

That preview isn't the only hint of things to come:  as we also noted in the podcast, Sean Phillips has been posting a detail of a piece of artwork in several stages of development -- here, here, and presumably completed here -- and we're reposting the latest version below.

We can't help but notice the familiar row of fangs in the upper right corner, and we suspect that this is another piece of artwork from Dylan's disturbed dad.

If that image weren't eerie enough, in his Instagram feed and reposted in Twitter, Sean Phillips has provided previews -- here, here, and just today here -- of an impasto-style painting, what is now undoubtedly an upcoming cover to Kill Or Be Killed, possibly issue #15 kicking off a new arc or perhaps a new cover for the third arc's trade collection.

We're wrapping this overlong post with that last preview, posted without commentary.

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